Monday, January 3, 2011

Beef Brisket Supper

 Lately I've been using my cast iron Dutch Oven quite a lot. It just might be my favorite piece of cookware EVER! (thanx again my Jeanie!) And as Ferris Bueller would say, "It's SO choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up." Seriously, it's so perfect for those saucy dishes where you add a some meat and a bunch of ingredients, then you put the whole thing in the oven and let it cook all afternoon. If you're craving a home cooked meal, this is the answer.
 This recipe screams comfort food. It's a hearty "full belly" meal that is sure to hit the spot on a chilly night. It also smells so good while it's cooking that you'll have all the neighbors wanting to come over for dinner. I was channel surfing one afternoon and I happened to catch Rachel Ray making it, and it looked too good not to try. I didn't do it exactly as she did, but it's pretty close!
I know you'll love it!

1 lean beef brisket (2-3 lbs)
kosher salt and coarse black pepper
a few glugs of oil
2 large onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 fresh bay leaves
big pinch ground cloves
2 tbs tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

Heat oven to 350F.
Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper. Add oil to a large Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the meat and brown on all sides. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. Add onions, garlic, and bay leaves. Let them cook for a few minutes until the onions soften. Add cloves and stir in the tomato paste. Next stir in the wine and deglaze the pan, then add the broth and canned diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Nestle the meat back into the pot and cover. Bake about 2 1/2 hours, then uncover and bake 1/2 hour more or until the sauce is as thick as you like it.

Season the beef with salt and pepper before you brown it on all sides, but don't add any more until after the sauce has reduced. The flavors really concentrate and become much more intense. You can always adjust the seasoning before you serve.
If the sauce becomes too thick, just add a little water or broth.
This would probably work perfectly in a crock pot too, don't you think? Just brown everything as directed, and then transfer it to a crock pot and cook it on low for 8 or 9 hours.
I decided not to serve this with polenta (as the original recipes suggests) but instead decided to serve it with long grain rice. I just sauteed some mushrooms and onions before adding the uncooked rice, then added chicken broth instead of water. So good! I'm sure it would also be quite delicious served with noodles or even mashed potatoes.

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